Mellody Hobson named 2015 commencement speaker

first_imgFinance executive Mellody Hobson was officially announced as the USC commencement speaker and an honorary degree recipient on Wednesday.According to USC News, Hobson’s will address more 60,000 individuals in her 132nd annual commencement address, which will take place on May 15 in Alumni Park on the University Park campus. The main ceremony, which is presided over by President C. L. Max Nikias, will begin at 9 a.m.Hobson is chairwoman of the board of directors at DreamWorks Animation and a director at Estee Lauder companies and at Starbucks Corporation. Hobson currently serves as the active president and chair of the board of trustees at Ariel Investments. Ariel Investments, an investment company based in Chicago, focuses on small and mid-capitalized stocks. Hobson began her career as an intern at Ariel Investments and has moved up through the company until she was named president of the company a decade later.Hobson is also a leading figure in mass media through her contributions to CBS News, Black Enterprise magazine and frequent appearances on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.She graduated with a bachelor of arts from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs. Hobson’s work in the After School matters program, a Chicago nonprofit organization that provides underprivileged adolescents with opportunities for high-quality education, has led her to be commended by higher education officials.Hobson is also married to filmmaker George Lucas, a USC alumnus and benefactor of the School of Cinematic Arts.In addition to Hobson, five other individuals will receive honorary degrees from USC, including Pete Carroll, head football coach of the Seattle Seahawks and former USC football coach; Kamala Harris, 32nd attorney general of California; Leonard D. Schaeffer, founding chairman and chief executive officer of WellPoint and senior adviser to TPG Capital; Michael Tilson Thomas, award-winning composer, conductor and pianist; and Ada Yonath, crystallographer and Nobel Prize winner for her findings on ribosome structure and function.Nominations for honorary degree recipients are conducted by the Office of the Provost through chairwoman Margo Apostolos, associate professor of dance at the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.Honorary degrees are the highest award the university offers to honor individuals who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary achievements in scholarship, philanthropy and welfare to respective USC and non-USC communities. Prior to selection, the university opens a nomination process to the current students, faculty, alumni and trustees to identify possible candidates.According to USC News, approximately 15,000 degrees will be granted to individuals during commencement this spring.Previous honorary degree recipients and commencement speakers include Marc Benioff, chairman of salesforce.com; B. Wayne Hughes, business leader and alumnus and trustee; Shonda L. Rhimes, creator and executive producer of numerous ABC series; Phillip A. Sharp, 1993 Nobel Prize winner in physiology or medicine; James H. Simon, founder of Renaissance Technologies; and Twyla Tharp, nationally acclaimed choreographer. This story was updated at 5:29 p.m.last_img

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